Biological Opinions

This category contains 9 posts

HORB revisited

Last week, the court approved a joint stipulation (PDF) filed by the various parties involved in the OCAP salmonid litigation. [1] The stipulation will set the plan for the coordinated operation of the state and federal projects — striking some sort of balance between Delta exports and species protection, and replacing certain requirements of the … Continue reading

Fall X2 and delta smelt, continued

This post is a continuation of the previous post. Given that there is a salinity range physiologically tolerable to delta smelt — and a subset salinity range that is not just tolerable, but actually suitable, for which there is a higher probability of finding fish in practice — salinity is an important factor when determining … Continue reading

Opportunity to enhance delta smelt science scrapped by Wanger compromise

The 2008 biological opinion prepared by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommends a set of actions that should be taken to protect delta smelt while operating the federal and state projects.  USFWS will prepare yet another version of this BiOp by an order of Judge Wanger, or else be relieved of the need to do … Continue reading

Wanger Recap: Final judgment for delta smelt, salmon dispute cools off

The spring season is often associated with uplifting imagery: Of nature reawakening and basking in ever-stronger sunlight, and of a new life cycle that emerges as the Earth sheds the frigid harshness of winter.  But at least in the world of California water, spring can be decidedly less romantic for various reasons — not the … Continue reading

Parties to the Delta Smelt litigation propose alternative CVP and SWP operation plan

On May 27, 2010, Judge Wanger issued his ruling on the delta smelt biological opinion, which was analogous to his earlier ruling on the salmonid biological opinion.  In the Consolidated Delta Smelt Cases, Wanger determined that the federal agencies had acted arbitrarily and capriciously with respect to Component 2 of the reasonable and prudent alternative … Continue reading

Judge Wanger Denies TRO on Delta Smelt BiOp

Judge Wanger has issued a ruling denying Westlands/SLDMWA’s request for a temporary restraining order against the new pumping restrictions that went into effect on February 10 at 5:00 p.m. to protect delta smelt. Fish and Wildlife’s proposal to implement Component 1, Action 2 of the delta smelt RPA limits negative Old & Middle River (OMR) flows … Continue reading

TRO Sought Against Delta Smelt BiOp, but Will Judge Wanger Consider the Science?

The battle for the pumps is on. Quick recap: on February 5, 2010, Judge Wanger issued a 14-day temporary restraining order against one action contained in the NMFS salmonid biological opinion, which (if Wanger had allowed it to be implemented) would have lessened the negative Old & Middle River (OMR) flows.  These are the reverse … Continue reading

Pumping Restriction Out, Pumping Restriction In

In the last post, we focused on the 2009 biological opinion that the National Marine Fisheries Service prepared for salmonids, but a parallel process has been playing out with the delta smelt.  The 2008 BiOp for the pelagic delta smelt was prepared by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.  Both BiOps issued jeopardy determinations and … Continue reading

Judge Wanger Grants 14-Day TRO on the Salmonid BiOp

On June 4, 2009, the National Marine Fisheries Service released a biological opinion that revised a previously invalidated BiOp.  The purpose of the 2009 NMFS BiOp is to assess the impacts of water projects in the Delta on several listed species: winter and spring run Chinook salmon, green sturgeon, Central Valley steelhead, and Southern Resident … Continue reading

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